Thursday, June 26, 2008

USS Gonzalez Begins Deployment with Port Visit to Rota, Spain

USS Gonzalez (DDG-66) completed her first deployment port visit to Rota, Spain from February 29 through March 3. The ship left Norfolk, Virginia on February 19 on a routine six-month deployment to conduct multi-national and maritime security operations in the Mediterranean Sea.

Gonzalez crew members enjoyed spending time ashore in Rota and had the chance to participate in several tours coordinated by the ship’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) team. Many Sailors visited the historic cities of Seville and Cordoba, attended an evening flamenco performance, and climbed the Rock of Gibraltar. Ensign Scott Chase, the ship’s MWR Officer, said that “it was overwhelming being able to climb the rock of Gibraltar and look out in the distance to see another continent.” Boatswain’s Mate Third Class Carlos Talavera said “the Flamenco dancers were tremendous, and it was a great chance to experience Spanish culture.”

While moored at Naval Station Rota, Gonzalez Sailors held true to the ship’s motto, “Beyond the Call,” by helping a sister ship with repairs. Gonzalez engineers manufactured a coupling for the fast attack submarine USS Dallas (SSN-700), enabling the submarine to receive potable water from a shore connection. “This attests to the fact that the Navy is a small world and also a family who helps each other out,” said Gas Turbine Systems (Mechanical) First Class Mitchell Couture. Later, Gonzalez and Dallas Sailors welcomed one another onboard for ship and submarine tours, giving them a chance to share sea stories of their respective communities.

Rota was Gonzalez’s first foreign port visit in over eighteen months. The ship will join the Standing NATO Maritime Group (SNMG) Two in March and conduct coalition operations with ships from several NATO countries during the course of deployment.

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